Like a kid raiding a candy store, I’ve found that it’s all too easy to amass a huge heap of delicious projects to gorge on. Unfortunately, like that kid who will more than likely end up feeling queasy from eating all that candy, I recently discovered that my eyes are bigger than my belly.
In the mad rush to satisfy my multipotentialite craving to to push forward on all my shiny new projects, I realised I’d overcommitted. I’d overcommitted my time, energy, brain power, and every other resource at my disposal.
You may well find this scenario very familiar. You too may get hooked on the exhilarating experience of having loads of projects on the go at the same time. Until, that is, one of the plates you’re spinning inevitably crashes to the ground and propels everything around it into chaos. Overcommitting is one of my problematic multipotentialite patterns.
What are your problematic multipotentialite patterns?
I’ve noticed that there are cycles I repeat on a regular basis. You probably have a pretty good idea what your patterns are, too. These may include common multipotentialite tendencies such as over-committing, becoming overwhelmed, procrastinating, or feeling as though you are not making enough progress on your projects.
Sometimes it’s not possible to find a permanent solution to problems like these, in which case it can be more helpful to think of them as maintenance routines that provide regular servicing and tweaking to keep us in optimal condition.
How to deal with your negative patterns
1) Create a “me” handbook
I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be useful to have a “Me” Handbook – a personal user guide with tailor-made techniques that are close to hand when you need them. Humans don’t come with a set of instructions, but sometimes I reckon something like this would be mighty handy!
Create a handbook that you can grab whenever you need it. If you already have a system for logging things of interest like your bucket list or a list of new ideas to develop, it might be appropriate to start your “me” log in the same place. It could be in a notebook or journal, in a spreadsheet, or in some kind of online note capture system. Choose whatever system works for you.
2) Look for commonalities
Take a moment to think back to a time when you were experiencing the problem you’re struggling with now. Note down as much information about the incident as you can remember, to build up a picture of the kind of situation you’re dealing with. Try to include the circumstances you found yourself in. What were you doing? Where were you? Who was there? How did you feel?
If you can identify a couple of different occasions, that will enable you to compare how you reacted each time and to identify any patterns. Maybe you tend to overcommit yourself or struggle to say “no” at particular times of year.
3) Brainstorm solutions
Having spotted the problems you find yourself battling regularly, get creative and brainstorm how you could manage them. Your solutions need to appeal to you, so feel free to ignore conventional wisdom. What would really get you motivated when you’re procrastinating or slow you down when you’re in danger of overcommitting?
4) Experiment, tweak, and repeat
Now it’s time to test out some of those solutions. Set yourself a suitable challenge and decide on a reasonable timeframe so you can really evaluate whether or not your solution has the desired effect. Update your log with what worked and what didn’t. Keep a note of any other additional patterns you spot.
Remember that as we continue to grow and evolve, we may need to change up our approaches. It’s ok to try something new when you find that an old technique is no longer working for you.
What patterns do you find yourself repeating over and over again? How do you manage them?